It is Hot, Humid, and Dusty.We are into the Harmattan season here. The Harmattan is a season in the West African subcontinent, which occurs between the end of November and the middle of March. It is characterized by dry and dusty northeasterly trade wind, of the same name, which blows from the Sahara Desert over West Africa into the Gulf of Guinea. It means the sky is "hazy" all the time. Dust collects everywhere. March is the hottest month of the year. We are feeling the heat. This is also the time of the year when everyone is clearing the land of the dead savanna grasses and all the dead weeds that have grown during the wet season. There are small fires everywhere, even in the towns. So the haze includes smoke and dust. It is hay fever time. We feel like we have had one single cold since the middle of December. But that is the only health problem we have so that is a real blessing.
Training from Salt LakeThe 1st week in March we went to Freetown for a special conference for Young Women and Primary leaders. We were there for 3 days. Members of the two general presidencies of these two organization were here from Salt Lake. Sister Carol F. McConkie from the Young Womens, and Sister Joy D. Jones from the Primary. We also had Elder Nash from the Africa West Area Presidency who spoke with them. They were here to train the leaders from though out the mission. It was a major effort to bring about 70 leaders from Bo, Kenema, and McKinney into Freetown. They stayed one night in a hotel and needed to be fed several meals.
They did a fine job of training. Our hearts go out to them. They work hard at developing programs for the whole world. Teaching in the Saviors Way, and Teachers Councils were two of their priorities. Then they come into West Africa. They find the biggest challenge in West Africa is to have teachers called. Most branches have a primary president and maybe a counselor. They take turns teaching a primary that has 10 to 30 children. Rarely are separate teachers called. Many have never been to a Branch Council, so what is a Branch Teachers Council. They went back to Salt Lake with a much better picture of what life is like in West Africa, and our members felt the love of those in church leadership who cared enough to come all the way to Africa to teach them.
Growing in West AfricaHere in Bo, we created two new branches 2 weeks ago in the Bo North District. They now have 7. Today, the Bo West District also created a new branch giving them 6. There are 2 district/stake center buildings being built which should be completed before we leave. There is a district/stake center building being built in Kenema and they are also splitting branches.
In Freetown, they are getting ready to create their 2nd stake. It has now been approved. We are hoping for 1 or 2 stakes in Bo before we leave. The church is growing in Sierra Leone, West Africa.
We testify that our Father in Heaven is preparing the world for the return of His Son Jesus Christ. We in West Africa are just a small part of this great kingdom that is rolling forth through out the world. "No unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing...The truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, until it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear. Til the purposes of God have been accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say 'The Work is Done'". (Wentworth Letter).
We are witnesses daily of His great love and miracles. We love working in His Kingdom. We await anxiously for his return. God bless you all.